Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A little clarification

So since most of the world doesn't understand the nuances of track cycling lingo, here's a basic description of what I did yesterday on the boards. (aka track. I call them boards because the track is composed of Siberan White Tiger wood. All 250m with 47 degree banking.)

We shipped our track bikes down earlier (they're the kind without brakes) and flew down with our road bikes on the airplane. Checking in at the airport is kind of a pain if you're flying with bikes because they are put in an oversized box and you can bet you'll be charged any where from $50-175 extra each way for such a luxury. (Shipping them costs anywhere from $35 to $175 depending on who you use to ship, declared value, how they measure the box, etc.) Oh and you can count on TSA searching your bike box for explosives and such due to the metal or carbon tubing. You can only hope they put the box back in it's original condition so things don't shift around - but that's the risk you take.

Anyway - we rode to the gym from our hotel yesterday morning to meet Adam at 8:30 for bike assemblege and getting things set up for the day's workout. Everything arrived in good shape - with the exception of Tela's box. Her wheel hubs were sticking out of the box. But after riding on it she discovered it was all good.

On tap for today's workout was a warmup with the Canadian National team (who has been in town since January prepping for the upcoming March world cup). 50 laps with a steady increase in tempo in a smaller gear. Since you only have one gear option, the warmup is used in a smaller gear (50x16, which is roughly an 84") to open up the legs and get your aerobic and central nervous system ready for the specialized efforts later. Since most of the work on the track is done with near 100% capacity, a good warm up is essential to prevent injury.

After those 50 laps, you go back into the infield and change your gears into what ever is prescribed next on your schedule. Tela's gears are usually a lot smaller than mine since she's a sprinter - she's more reliant on fast twitch muscle fiber to generate a high rpm. You need to be able to get up to speed quickly and then hold it for her efforts. Since I'm more of an endurance racer, I have larger gears to generate the most power over a longer period.

Anyway, my goal for this session is to work on my standing starts for pacing in the pursuit. Basically I'm going from a stopped position, held up by a hydraulic starting gate that releases when the clock counts down from 10 seconds to 0. Jump the gate by going to early and you can scrub a good 2 seconds off of your time. Go too late and you have zero momentum to start. It's all about finesse.

Then the effort itself has to be within your ability - especially if you're doing more than one lap. Since the pursuit is 3000m (or 12 laps on this track), pacing is everything. At nationals in October I went out of the gate HOT - too hot. My start was equivalent to Sarah Hammer's 3:30 pace. And guess what? I'm not Sarah Hammer. Unfortunately at this time I can't hold that pace. Such a strong start builds up lactic acid in the legs quickly and you start slowing down. So although I had started with a blistering pace, I physically couldn't hold it. To deal with this lack of fitness, I'm starting my laps slower so I can finish stronger in the end, verses the other way around.

I had 2 sets of 3 standing start one laps in a 94" gear (53x15). Hopefully that makes a little more sense now. My goal? Do a 24.7 second starting lap. Nothing faster. But for some reason when that gate releases and I go, I can't dial it back. I'm putting in a 22.4 second starting lap. I have to tone it down or else I will detonate later in the effort. After several attempts to do so - the only thing that happened was my time kept getting faster. So I have to work on slowing down.

The good news though? I have it within me to do that kind of start. Now it's just a matter of building that fitness to hold it. That's why those stinking hill repeats up Hollywood hill in the wee hours of the morning and despite the rain are so important. The ability to hold high wattage (power) is crucial to the pursuit.

Either you're more confused than ever or that helps a little bit. Bottom line? I have to slow down to go faster. :)

And today's workout, just to confuse you, is a sprinter workout. Good times! Wish me luck as I try to spin my own legs off!

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